What do park staff DO all winter?

In today’s post, Assistant Superintendent Josie Grenier and other southeast zone staff give us a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what our crews are up to during the winter months.

There’s a false assumption out there that Ontario Parks goes into hibernation in the winter, just like bears, but we are by no means just a summer experience.

Field staff are often asked, “What do you guys do in the winter or when you’re closed?”

Where can we even begin to answer this question!?

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A trip down the Pakeshkag River at Grundy Lake Provincial Park

Today’s post comes from Sonje Bols, a naturalist at Grundy Lake Provincial Park.

Part of a park naturalist’s job is to familiarize themselves with the natural and cultural wonders of their park through exploration.

Whether it’s tramping through bogs to catch and identify dragonflies, flipping rocks to look for snakes, or canoeing along ancient Indigenous canoe routes, naturalists set out to observe and explore every inch of their parks so they can bring that knowledge and experience to park visitors and managers.

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5 questions with A/Assistant Deputy Minister of Land and Water Division

Welcome to our “5 Questions” series! We chat with park staff around the province to give you an inside look at what it’s like to work at Ontario Parks.

Acting Assistant Deputy Minister Bruce Bateman began his career at Bon Echo in the summer of 1978. He’s worked his way up from the gatehouse to the ADM’s office, with stops as park superintendent, zone manager and director along the way.

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5 things I love about being a Discovery Guide

Today’s post comes from Madeline McNabb, a 2017 Discovery Guide at White Lake Provincial Park

We all dream of turning our passion into a job.

My chance came this past summer when I worked at White Lake Provincial Park as a Discovery Guide.

The Discovery Program is a new program focusing on inspiring curiosity in park visitors and encouraging exploration of our natural environment. I made so many amazing memories this past summer. There are too many wonderful things I want to share!

After much deliberation, I have narrowed it down to five top reasons why I loved being a Discovery Guide:

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What goes into closing a park for the winter?

While 26 provincial parks remain open for the winter, the rest hibernate until spring.

But closing a park isn’t as simple as just locking the gates. Our staff put a lot of elbow grease into prepping each park for the winter.

Here are just a few of the tasks we do each fall:

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Congratulations to our 2018 Ontario Parks Partners Bursary recipients!

The summer student workforce is the life-blood of the Ontario Parks summer operating season. Our provincial parks simply could not operate without our student workers.

Today, Minister Rod Phillips, local MPPs, park staff, corporate partners and — of course — our wonderful students gathered in Peterborough to award the 2018 Ontario Parks Partners Bursaries.

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The people I’ve met in parks…

Stroll the halls at our main office, and you’ll find many a former naturalist, ops tech and superintendent. So many of our long-time team members started their careers in a favourite provincial park. In today’s post, Eva Paleczny — now working centrally as a Learning & Education Specialist — recounts her time working in a park. 

As a park naturalist at Lake Superior Provincial Park, I met so many people, some just briefly and others year after year.

And the diverse array of visitors I’ve met while working with Ontario Parks has been one of the best parts of my job!

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